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Pate was born in Cheltenham and was a nephew of Richard Pate, Bishop of Worcester. An alumnus of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, he endowed that institution with property, on the condition that they use some of the money to found and maintain a school in Cheltenham. This school was founded in 1574 and still exists as Pate's Grammar School. Pate also left property in Oxford to Corpus Christi.
Pate died in 1588 and is buried in Gloucester Cathedral. On his tomb is inscribed Patebit tum quod latuit, meaning what is hidden will be revealed. This is also the motto of Pate's Grammar School and the Old Patesians Rugby Football Club. He also has a primary school named after him, the Richard Pate School.
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